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Boris Johnson is facing pressure from defense facilities and is refraining from appointing Sir Tony Radakin, the prominent head of the Royal Navy, as Britain’s top military official in the coming days.
Defense officials say the preference among top brass in the military is for Sir Patrick Sanders, who is responsible for military cyber operations and special forces, to become the chief of the new Defense Staff (CDS).
“The Defense Ministry and the military have more broad support for Sanders, or, frankly, everyone except Radakin,” said a senior defense official.
Defense Minister Ben Wallace is said to be playing a neutral role by senior government officials and will be happy to work with CDS candidates.
Johnson is expected to choose a new CDS to replace General Nick Carter, who is leaving, probably next week. The prime minister’s allies said no decision had been made.
Former barrister Radakin is considered innovative and at the forefront of work, but there are critics within the defense facility. Among them is Sir Stephen Lovegrove, Johnson’s National Security Adviser, according to defense officials.
Lovegrove, a former Deputy Secretary of Defense, is said to have clashed with an admiral who has the talent to secure publicity in the past. Last month, Radakin made James Bond actor Daniel Craig the Royal Navy’s Honorary Commander.
Radakin also attended an important meeting at the High Commission of Australia, London in March, when ideas for a US / UK / Australia defense pact were first raised, including plans to share nuclear submarine technology.
“The First Sea Lord is a good man and exciting and destructive, but he’s wasting it as a habit and MoD can’t afford it now,” said one defense official. “Love Grove was hurt by Radakin’s continuous overspending while he was Vice-Minister.”
Proponents of Radakin said they prioritized placing Royal Navy vessels on operational missions while reducing headquarters staff and reducing the number of admirals by a third.
“To achieve the Navy transformation he wanted, Radakin went around the CDS with the Vice-Minister and spoke directly to the Secretary of State,” said one of the First Sea Lord’s allies.
“It upset both Loveglobe and Carter, as well as other key figures in the department who are crazy about the process.”
A senior MoD official who witnessed the relationship between Radakin and Lovegrove said the Vice-Minister would have preferred “Jesusman.” “Tony wanted to promote more deployment of ships while operating the Navy more efficiently,” officials said.
The head of the Royal Navy has not been the head of defense staff for almost 20 years. The last was Lord Voice, who took up the position from 2001 to 2003. Johnson approved a significant increase in naval spending last year and sees naval power as embodying the “global Britain.”
Defense officials argue that Lovegrove and Carter prefer to post to Sanders, a strategic commander and special forces veteran.
Sanders is considered a charismatic leader with the skills needed in new forms of war, such as cyber and intelligence operations to undertake Russia and China in the “gray zone” between peaceful relations and formal armed conflict. increase. Both he and Carter served the same army regiment, the Royal Green Jacket, also known as the “Rifles.”
Defense officials said Lovegrove had participated in the interview panel but has not played a formal role since then.
The other three candidates interviewed by Johnson were Deputy Admiral Ben Kee, who carried out the evacuation of British troops in Kabul, Sir Mark Carlton Smith, Army Commander at Johnson and Eton University, and Air Force Chief Mike Wigston. was.
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